Reduce Cortisol Here are some effective ways on how to or ways you can use to lower your cortisol level: Do you suffer from stress, stubborn stomach fat, sleep problems, high or low blood pressure, low libido, inflammation, muscle mass loss (bulging belly, thin arms, no buttocks), memory problems, overall weakness especially in the morning, fatigue, light in the head, nervousness, agitation or fear? Then you probably make too much or too little cortisol. To make sure that this is done in the right relationship, I will give you my top 10 best tips to help you reduce your stress hormone cortisol.
Before I do, I’d like to tell you more about what happens if you experience stress. Would you rather look at my tips to reduce your cortisol? Via the table of contents, you can move right here.
The stress response
As soon as you get stress, for whatever reason, a signal comes in with your hypothalamus. Your hypothalamus is part of the brain stem. From this brain part, many different body processes are regulated. This includes thinking about regulating your water supply, blood pressure, your body’s 24-hour rhythm, expression of emotions like anger and fun, control of your hormonal system, body temperature and metabolic rate. Your hypothalamus regulates these body processes with your nerves and through contact with your pituitary gland. The moment your hypothalamus enters a stress signal, it makes a hormone that is called corticotropin-releasing hormone. Often the term CRH is used for this purpose.
With this hormone, the hypothalamus stimulates your pituitary gland to create adrenocorticotrophic hormone. This hormone is also called ACTH. ACTH then signals your adrenal cortex. As soon as your adrenal glands receive ACTH’s signal, they produce, among other things, the stress hormone cortisol. If there is enough blood in your blood, your hypothalamus will make less CRH. Then your pituitary gland reduces the production of ACTH, making your adrenal gland less cortisol. This will restore your body to balance.
Your adrenal cortex consists of three different parts that each create their own hormones. The outer bark layer produces hormones that affect your mineral retention. The main representative of this group is the hormone aldosterone. The middle bark produces hormones that affect your glucose condition. The most common hormone in this group is cortisol. The inner layer produces both male and female sex hormones. These include: ‘testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone’.
Below I posted a video explaining the above process. This video also discusses the production of adrenaline and nor-adrenaline via the adrenal gland. This is well displayed. However, because I want to restrict myself to cortisol in this article, I have not explained this.
What is cortisol?
Cortisol is also called your stress hormone because it is created in response to stress by your adrenal cortex. The moment you get into a stress reaction, your body needs energy. At least it was very early when we had to flee or fight for imminent danger (such as a trembling tiger). Nowadays, this is not always the case. Sometimes we just experience stress and we really do not have to fight or flee. Your body only does not take into account whether or not you need that energy. Every stress stimulus generates energy. Your stress hormone takes place in two ways:
- It promotes the conversion of amino acids (muscle proteins) and glycogen (stored carbohydrates in your liver and in your muscles) into glucose;
- It makes your cell wall-less easily pass through glucose.
These two processes increase your blood sugar level to energize your body. Cortisol has another important function: it is the most powerful inflammatory inhibitor of your body. Your stress hormone also affects your brain, sleep pattern and heart and blood vessels by contracting your veins, increasing your blood pressure.
What does cortisol affect out of balance?
Your stress hormone is initially out of balance if your adrenal glands produce too much cortisol. This is the case if you have inflammation in your body, in a disturbed day and night rhythm, low blood sugar levels and stress. If you have to create too much stress hormone for a long period of time, your adrenal glands become exhausted at some point. You have adrenal dysfunction. In an exhausted adrenal gland, your body can not produce enough cortisol enough. This often causes all sorts of vague complaints and inflammations.
Reduce Cortisol: 10 Tips
Below are my 10 tips to help reduce your stress hormone cortisol.
Tip 1: Do breathing exercises
People who experience a lot of stress often breathe too fast, sometimes more than 20 times a minute. Sometimes people suffer from stress too slowly. They hold their breath or “forget” to breathe during a conversation. A normal breathing rate at rest is about 6 times per minute. Whether stresses are caused by too fast or too slow breathing or that is exactly the other way around, I leave in the middle. It is true that people who exercise daily exercise experience less stress and better control their stress than people who do not.
How often do you breathe per minute?
To determine if you get too fast or too slow, you can measure your respiratory rate. You can do this by counting the amount of your breath in one minute. One respiration begins at the start of your inhalation and stops when you have completely exhaled, just before your next inhalation. It may be that if you run this experiment yourself, you influence the result too much. You become more aware of your breathing. This can lead to a different outcome than when you are unaware of it. Therefore, you can also ask your partner or a good friend to measure your respiratory rate at an unexpected moment.
Below are 2 breathing exercises that you can apply daily.
Respiratory exercise 1 (10-15 minutes / daily)
Sit upright, in the tailor seat (the lotus position) or just on a chair. When sitting in the lotus position, rest your hands on your knees, with your palms upwards. If you sit on a chair, keep your arms bent before you know your chest. Keep your hands closed. Breathe out slowly through your mouth and through your nose. With a calm breath, open your hands and let go of everything you no longer want to think about. Try to talk as long as you exhale. At the inhalation you close your fingers and think of good things. Continue at your own pace. Do not change your breathing, let them come and go the way you like it.
Respiratory exercise 2 (10-15 minutes / daily)
Sit down with both feet on the ground. Breathe in through your nose, not too deep. Breathe through your mouth, extend your exhalation by making a mouthpiece. Be careful not to inhale too deeply, but to your stomach. Not too deep means that you do not have to enter an excessive amount of air. Sitting on a chair, you do not need much oxygen if you use the oxygen smartly. So breathe in and just exhale the exhalation.
If you want to reduce your stress hormone cortisol, you should do 1 or 2 respiratory exercises daily. Take approximately 10 to 15 minutes of exercise per exercise. A nice moment to do this is when getting up, for dinner and before going to sleep.
Tip 2: Reduce your ignition sensitivity
There are two main types of inflammations. The normal inflammation that causes redness, swelling and pain and the silent inflammation. Quiet inflammations are also called low-grade inflammations. This latter form is less known and in a blood test, the presence of low-grade inflammation is not well-known. Quiet inflammations can thus exist without being observed. Low-grade inflammations are the basis of all kinds of chronic health problems such as: “cancer, depression, fibromyalgia, chronic stress and chronic fatigue”.
The more silent inflammation you have, the more stress hormone you make to fight this. Reduce your sensitivity to inflammation, thus reducing your cortisol. The following advice can help you to:
- Use daily olive oil (olive oil contains anti-inflammatory substances);
- Provide enough vitamin D (minimum 80 nmol / L);
- Eat gluten free;
- Use herbs and spices like turmeric, ginger, nettle, lemongrass, onion, garlic and clove;
- Eat high-fat foods like coconut, coconut, nuts, seeds and vegetables and fruits;
- Avoid trans fats.
Tip 3: Reduce relationship stress
Do you suffer from relational stress? Try to get out with your partner first by entering the conversation. Are the problems persist and you do not get it? Do not keep going for too long. Have you ever thought about starting relational therapy? Relational therapy is a discovery journey that makes clearer what is happening between you and how it can be improved. Relation therapy offers you the opportunity to get your connection lovingly and flowably, with the help of the other.
Tip 4: Provide sufficient sleep
The anti-stress hormones growth hormone and testosterone reach their peak during the night as you sleep. So, if you sleep sufficiently, you make fewer stress hormones. By sleeping well you can lower your cortisol. Make sure you sleep well enough. On average this is about 7 to 8 hours a night. If possible, go to bed at regular times. Stand up at regular times. Build your day well before going to sleep. Start here approximately 2 hours in advance. Sleep in a well-ventilated room that is completely dark, free from electrical appliances. Use earplugs if you suffer from ambient noise.
Tip 5: Make more time for yourself
By working too much, being busy and taking too little relaxation, you make more stress hormones. You can restore this balance by planning more relaxing activities. This can be different for each person. So take a look at what’s best for you. Respect the breaks at your work and do not plan your entire weekend. Use your weekend to relax and unwind. You can think of the following things to make for more relaxation:
- Take a walk in the woods;
- Read a good book;
- Have a day to the sauna;
- Let yourself be massaged by your partner or by a masseuse or masseur;
- Listen to soothing music;
- Do a meditation;
- Take a warm bath
If you want to lower your cortisol, it is important to schedule daily relaxation activities.
Tip 6: Train briefly, intensively and not too often
If you train too often and for too long, you make more stress hormones and the training effect is largely eliminated. The production of testosterone and growth hormone will then decrease and you will store more fat and break down muscles. Therefore, take enough recovery time between 2 trainings and do not train for more than one hour. If you just started training or just started, it is important to gradually increase your effort activity. Use a training schedule from the internet, or put it together in consultation with a personal trainer. Last but not least: ‘By eating and drinking something after your workout, you also limit the cortisol production and you can reduce your stress hormone cortisol.
Tip 7: Avoid fast sugars
Rapidly absorbed carbohydrates allow your blood sugar to rise quickly. As a response, your body makes the hormone insulin. Under the influence of insulin, your blood sugar level drops quickly and can cause a low blood sugar level. When your blood sugar is too low, you make more stress hormones. In addition, “fast” sugars increase your sensitivity to inflammation. Another reason for eating no or few fast sugars. My advice is to opt for slowly absorbable carbohydrates such as: ‘vegetables, sour fruits, gluten-free cereals and legumes’. By eating otherwise, you can also reduce your cortisol.
Tip 8: Reduce stress-increasing thoughts
Do you also suffer from stress-increasing thoughts? Then you’re not the only one. These types of thoughts can be seen as ‘stress between the ears’. Here you can think of personal beliefs like:
- I can not do it;
- I’m not pretty enough;
- I’m afraid to fail;
- I’m not doing well enough;
- I’m not worth it;
Try to find out what your obstructive beliefs are. With the following methods you can reduce your stress-increasing thoughts and lower your cortisol:
- NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming);
- Byron Katie (4 questions that change your life);
- Rational Emotional Therapy;
- Relativity and humor.
Tip 9: Ask for more help
By asking for more help when needed, you get less quickly in trouble or in trouble. This prevents your stress level from rising too high. Do you have trouble with help? Then there are personal beliefs in the way. Try to find out here first. Obstructive beliefs can be changed using the above-mentioned methods.
Ask yourself the following questions first:
- Do I need help?
- How should that look like what kind of help do I need?
- Who do I want to help?
- I would like to ask for help or I can do it myself
Steps plan for asking for help
- Indicate where you want precise help (tell what you are with);
- Explain what the problem is;
- Tell what you expect from the other;
- Make clear appointments if the other is willing to help.
Tip 10: Drink little coffee and tea
Caffeinated beverages such as coffee and ordinary tea stimulate the production of your stress hormone and strain your adrenal glands. Caffeine will make you fit if you do not have a puff and really have to pause. That’s not bad at once. But if you drink more than 2 coffee or tea with caffeine daily, the tax is far too big. Therefore, drink up to 1 to 2 cups of organic coffee or tea a day. Purified water, herbal tea, vegetable juices and coconut water are good alternatives for coffee and tea with caffeine. By drinking less coffee and ordinary tea, you can lower your cortisol.